Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Merchants in Birds, 1891

More about the Merchants Doing Business in Birds: 

Vincennes Sunday Commercial November 8, 1891

Jas. Wood - Miller and Grain Dealer

Mr. Wood is proprietor of one of the leading business establishments of Birds, and is of untold advantage to the town and the farming community around about.  He runs an excellent mill, grinding burr flour, meal and feed, and keeps the best of roller flour on exchange for wheat and cash.

He does custom work of all kinds and has a large and rapidly growing trade, and can count his customers by the hundreds, who come from all directions of Lawrence and Crawford counties.  His fine new mill shows the advantage a customer mill is to a town in bringing farmers to town from every quarter. Nor is this all the business Mr. Wood is engaged in; he also buys wheat and corn in great quantities, for which he pays the highest market value.  His shipments of wheat and other grain are enormous, and Mr. Wood is rapidly building up one of the best businesses in Birds.  Farmers, and all alike, give him a call and encourage home enterprise, and you may soon expect to have one of the best mills in the state.

J. W. Campbell- Agent of C., C.C. & St. L. R.R.

Through the efficient management of ticket and freight agent Campbell, at Birds, the Big Four railroad has just recently sold scores of tickets to all parts of the union.  About four months ago, the management of the road concluded to furnish tickets at Birds for all points in the United States.  Through the efficient management and courteous treatment of patrons of the C.,C.C. & St. L. road by Mr. Campbell, he has sold scores of tickets to California, Missouri, Ohio and other points which is as it should be, appreciated by the traveling public.  Anyone wishing to go west can by buying a through ticket from Mr. Campbell, make the trip with less changes of cars than can be made in any other way.  It would be folly for anyone to suppose for a minute, that people wishing to make long trips over the road would not fully appreciate this great and beneficial advantage in buying but one ticket which saves them from one to three changes of cars.  Those wishing to make long trips will find it to their advantage to call on Mr. Campbell, who will render you every courtesy in his power. 

Jones and Roberts -  General store

These gentlemen run a general store, keeping in stock clothing, dry good, notions, hats, boots, shoes, groceries, provisions and queensware, and owing to Mr. Jones’s ill health, they are closing out their entire stock of goods at cost.  Those wishing to avail themselves of this grand opportunity should call early while there is a complete stock to select from.  Everything must go.

Mr. Cary Roberts, one of the partners of the above-named firm, is also proprietor of the Hale House on Main Street, which is the only first-class house in Birds. The traveling public will find it a good place to stop. The table is first class; the rooms large and well ventilated, and supplied with nice clean beds; the charges are reasonable.

But the business which Mr. Roberts gives his most attention to, is that of buying grain and stock, for which he pays the highest market price.  He also breeds Short horn cattle and Poland China hogs, of which he keeps a good supply to fill the growing demand made on him for these extra fine breeds of livestock. He buys and ships a great deal of grain and stock, if you have either to sell, give him a call.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Service Men Killed During WWII

Source:  Lawrence County News, July 15, 1948.


PFC Glen Barnett was killed in action on Luzon, Philippine Islands, March 1, 1945.  Honors accorded him in service were the Bronze Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Combat Infantryman Medal.  He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

S/SGT Cledus F. Potts, who was born in Denison town, was a graduate of the Bridgeport Township High School.  He entered the service on April 17, 1941, and was shipped to Australia in January, 1942, serving in the South Pacific.  He was killed in action of Bougainville on January 30, 1943.

S/SGT Taylor L. Carter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar R. Carter, Flat Rock, Route.  S/SGT Carter was a member of Co. L, 130th Infantry, National Guard, Lawrenceville.  He enlisted in service, March 5, 1941, and was killed in action on Luzon, Philippine Islands, February 19, 1945.

PVT Marion Kohlhause, husband of Wanda I. Kohlhause of St. Francisville, was killed in action on Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 23, 1945.  Pvt. Kohlhause enlisted August 2, 1944, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, and was a member of Co. A, 169th Infantry Replacements.

S/SGT Milford F. Kincaid, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Kincaid of Bridgeport, Route 1, who was killed in action on Luzon, Philippine Islands, January 14, 1945.  SGT Kincaid enlisted April 13, 1943 at Fort Sheridan.

T/5 Robert Strange, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Strange of Sumner, Route 3, enlisted at Chicago, March 5, 1943.  While serving with the 26th Infantry Division, he was killed in action at Luxembourg, Germany, on December 30, 1944.

PVT Roy Lemeron, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Lemeron, 702 East Walnut St., Lawrenceville was killed in action in Belgium on January 7, 1945, while serving with the 134th Infantry, Co. F.  He enlisted in services June 30, 1944 at Fort Sheridan.

PFC James C. Voorhis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Voorhis of Birds, enlisted at Chicago in 1942.  He was a member of Co. G, 101st Infantry and was killed in action November 9, 1944 while serving in France.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Akin Apple

Did you know that an apple variety was developed right here in our county? 

William John Akin moved to Lawrence county in 1857.  After serving in the Civil War, he returned home and farmed near Billet. Akin was one of the most progressive farmers in Lawrence County. He was a student of agriculture and horticulture with a particular interest in apples.  On his farm near Billett, he originated and grew as a seedling, an apple tree that was eventually named after him. The Akin apple is said to be similar in taste to a Jonathan apple.  His orchards were known for miles around.

What is a heritage apple? Answer: An variety of apple from a tree that grew on the early farmsteads.  Every farm had an orchard, and there were dozens of different kinds of apples grown.   Some made great pies, some made good cider, some kept through the whole winter.

By the 1900s, there were thousands of American varieties scattered across New England and the Midwest.  Some horticulturists estimate there may have been as many as 20,000. Now most of those have disappeared, replaced by apples specifically bred to ship well, resulting in about seven varieties of apples sold in the markets today.

However, there is a movement to preserve and plant those heritage varieties in orchards around the country.  The Akin apple is classified as a heritage apple.  At this time, our newest researcher, Janet F, a descendant of W. J. Akin, has been trying to locate any orchards still growing the Akin apple.  She has located one in Maine, a ten-acre preservation orchard called the Maine Heritage Orchard. (

Wouldn’t it be great to taste one of those apples, and make a connection between the past and the present? I see a road trip ahead in the fall………

In the meantime, we would like to hear from our Lawrence County residents if they have any old apple trees on their property?  If so, what variety are they?  Also, if we have any readers who were descendants of Lawrence County orchard owners, we would like to hear from you also.  Please email us at

Friday, February 15, 2019

Farm Bureau News Jan 1932

Farm Bureau News Jan 1932

Representatives of the International Harvester and John Deere companies held a farm machinery repair school at Haines and Stoltz warehouse in Birds.  Repairs of plows, mowers and binders was taught. A similar one was to be be held in February at D. T. Beckes store and warehouse in Russellville.

 J. C. Piper of Petty township and Harley Neal of Lawrence township were delegates to the annual meeting of the Illinois Agricultural Association at Rockford, January 27, 1932.  Others attending the meeting were W. H. Nuttall, Edwin Schrader, Leslie Miles, James W. Gillespie, and H. C. Wheeler. 

The president of the Farm Bureau in 1932 was Edwin F. Schrader, vice president was H. O. Tedford, the secretary was Ralph L. Zehner, and the treasurer was Harley R. Neal.  Other officers were Loy Funk, John J. Collison, Thomas Finley, Ross Cunningham, and Benton Haines.

Lawrence County Livestock Shippers elected three directors:  Chas. F. Piper, Charles J. Gerhart, and Raymond Seed.  P. T. Vanwey was the president;  C. W. Dollahan  was elected secretary/treasurer.  The records for 1931 showed that  4,405 hogs, 449 cattle, 575 calves, and 567 sheep were shipped from the stockyards located near the B&O RR depot in Lawrenceville.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

4-H News 1931-1932

March 1932

The leaders for the girls' 4 H clubs were Mrs. C E Berlin, Mrs. J J Griffith, Mrs. Ethel Flanders, Mrs. Ralph Zehner, Miss Gladys Moorehead, Miss Frances Tedford, Miss Richie and Mrs. Edwin F Schrader. 

The leaders for the boys' 4-H clubs John Greenlee, Ralph Zehner, Mrs. E J Healy, Raymond Couch, F. A. Stansfield, C. E. Kirk, A. H. Tharp and H. A. Dollahan.

November 1932

 Roger Smith, 4-H calf club member, showed a purebred Angus beef calf at the Producers Show and Sale held in East St Louis October 13.  Also showing Angus calves were Malcolm McVickar, Jesse McVickar  and Robert Schrader. 

January 1931

Members of the 4-H Beef Calf club were Anna Mae Siegle, Malcolm McVickar, Paul Funk, John Hoh, John Lence, Edgar Buchanan, Dale Dickerson, Robert Schrader, Roger Smith, Thomas Diver, Roy Siegle, and Lowell Weger. 

June 1931

The Singer Sewing Machine Company  furnished sewing machines for five of the 4-H clothing clubs.  The leaders from those clubs were Mrs. T A Birkhimer of Denison township, Mrs. Ralph Zehner, of Pinkstaff, Mrs. E. C. Elder of Russell township, Miss Callie Hobbs at Petrolia, and Miss Edith Ulmer of Pinhook.  Mrs. D. D. Griffith and Mrs. Berlin of Bridgeport have secured the use of the sewing machines at the Bridgeport High School. 

Do you have photographs of you or your children in 4-H through the years...exhibiting their projects, etc?  If so we would like to see them.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tractors in Lawrence County

Ed Shrader

John C King 1926

Don White 1950's

Do you have any photos of tractors used in Lawrence County?  If so we would like to see them.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

10 Things You Didn't Nnow about Farming in Lawrence County

Monday evening the Historical Society representatives had the pleasure of speaking at the Farm Bureau’s annual meeting. That organization will be 100 years old February, 2020.

 In the hope of showcasing the history of farming in the county in a future exhibit, a request was made by Nancy King and Donna Burton for photographs and artifacts.

Photographs can be scanned (if you are not willing to part with them) at the Farm Bureau office, or at the Research Library (M, W, F, 9-12)  Please provide as many details about the pictures as possible.  Please do not send photographs by email as they won’t be  able to be used in videos or enlarged for exhibits, or published in books, as the resolution just won’t be high enough. 

If you have an artifact that you think is exhibit worthy, please send us an email at  lawrencelore@gmail or stop by the History Center on Mondays 10-3 to discuss it. We would like to have the photos and any artifacts by March 15 so use these cold days to look through your albums and boxes of photos, and check out the barns for artifacts.

Here are some interesting facts we have discovered about farming in Lawrence County already. 
1.       That Soybeans were introduced in Lawrence county in 1919, but by 1937 only 2,500 acres were planted.
2.       That a murder occurred in Lukin Township in the late 1800’s over clover seed.
3.       That Broom corn was grown to supply a rather large industry of broom making here.
4.       That when the county was first settled, cotton was raised on Allison prairie.
5.       That a variety of apple, called the Akin apple was developed in Billett.
6.       That the first record of melons grown on Allison prairie was 1811.
7.        That 5 million pounds of sunflower seed were raised in Petty Township in 1899.
8.       That after the civil war when cotton was not available there were 16,000 sheep in the county.
9.       That there were so many chicken thieves during the Depression that Farm Bureau offered a $25 reward for their arrest and conviction.
1.         That in 1937 only one of five farms had electricity.

We are looking for these specific items this week:
Anything related to apples or peaches raised in Lawrence County
Any names of Lawrence county residents who raised sheep, or showed sheep at the county fair, hopefully with photographs of doing so.
Any memories of guineas or geese protecting the farmyard
Any memories of going to the poultry house and getting baby chickens to raise.
Any information about the Bridgeport Poultry house

BE a part of history; share your past.